Coming off of a massive 3-0 win against Manchester United on October 4, some Arsenal fans were worried that the club could lose momentum heading into a week-and-a-half international break. This, however, was not the case. Seventeen Arsenal players, both first teamers and youngsters, featured for their home countries during various competitions. Of the 17, an astounding nine Gunners hit the back of the net for their country.
Arsenal senior center forwards Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott both scored in their team’s first match of the week, with Giroud netting a brace as France beat Denmark 2-1 on Sunday. Walcott’s goal against Estonia was his eighth as a senior England international and his seventh goal over his last nine total appearances for both club and country (this includes a one minute cameo against rivals Tottenham Hotspur in September). Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also scored for England, but in Monday’s 3-0 win over Lithuania.
Not to be outdone by his forward teammates, superstar Alexis Sanchez scored three goals in two matches for his native Chile team, including a brace against Peru (despite the opposing fans’ attempts to curse the player). While the former Barcelona player began the campaign a bit off of the pace, Alexis has now netted nine goals over his last five total games for both Arsenal and Chile.
Midfield maestro Santi Cazorla also scored multiple goals for Spain in last Friday’s 4-0 thwarting of Luxembourg. The two goals for Cazorla were his first competitive goals since February, when he helped the Gunners beat Crystal Palace away from the Emirates. Fellow midfielder, Aaron Ramsey, also ended his goalless streak at 20 games with a goal for Wales during a victory over Andorra. Ramsey, the former Wales captain, also helped his country qualify for the 2016 European Championship, their first major tournament since 1958.
Joel Campbell, the Costa Rican forward, netted the eventual match-winning goal in Tuesday night’s 1-0 victory against the United States. The 23-year-old’s triumph happened to be his first goal for his country since Costa Rica’s surprising 3-1 win over Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup.
Loanees Chuba Akpom and Serge Gnabry also scored while out on international duty. Akpom, who received his first England U-21 call up, topped off his team’s 3-0 victory against Kazakhstan with a goal in extra time. Gnabry also scored his country’s final goal of the match; however, the young German’s goal came in a 6-0 trouncing of Faroe Islands on Tuesday night in Torshavn. The 20-year-old winger is currently on loan at West Brom, but has only featured in 12 minutes during Premier League play so far this season.
While the Gunners had nine different goalscorers during internationals, it is worth noting that midfielder Mesut Özil claimed an assist and was awarded as the Man of the Match during Germany’s 2-1 victory over Georgia on Sunday. The number 10 has now recorded an assist in four of his last eight total competitive appearances.
The success of the Gunners, as well as good news on the injury front, will certainly keep spirits high around the Emirates heading into Saturday’s Premier League clash with Watford. A victory for the north London side and a loss from Manchester City would push the Gunners to the top of the table.
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